Stephen Bogardus, who was Tony-nominated for his performance in Love! Valour! Compassion!, is back on Broadway playing the role of Daddy Cane in the Tony-nominated new musical Bright Star at the Cort Theatre. Here, the acclaimed singing actor shares the performances that most affected him as part of the audience.
Georgia Brown as Nancy in Oliver! (1963).
My first Broadway show. My mother knew someone who knew someone who knew Ms. Brown, and we were escorted to her dressing room after the show. What nine-year-old didn't want to be Oliver and experience being swallowed in the embrace of the sultry and supremely gifted Georgia Brown?
Kelly Bishop as Sheila in A Chorus Line (1975).
She had her own fragrance line: sarcasm. But when she sang "At The Ballet" (with Nancy Lane and Kay Cole), she transported me to that dance studio and stole my heart. The number is perhaps my all-time favorite, to this day.
Blind love and blind revenge converged, and the results were two delectable, harrowing, towering performances.
Dana Moore as the Lead in "Rich Man's Frug" in Sweet Charity (1986)
I was riveted. She was cool and seductive with a secret she was keeping all to herself. I wanted to jump onstage, grab onto her pony tail and have her whisper it to me. Full disclosure: Dana became my wife three years after I saw this performance.
Lois Smith as Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath (1990).
Lois didn't need to utter a word....when you followed her onstage and looked into her eyes, you were delivered into Steinbeck's world of struggle, longing and hope.
Nathan Lane as Buzz in Love! Valour! Compassion! (1995)
I had never seen an actor walk as far out on a limb. He would step farther and farther away from safety, and explore without fear of falling. He won a handful of awards for his performance that year but did not receive a Tony nomination. I'm still shaking my head at that oversight.
Janet McTeer as Nora in A Doll's House (1997).
Ms. McTeer was astounding. It was a "you had to see it, to believe it" theatrical tour de force performance. Wait until she sinks her teeth into La Marquise de Merteuil in Les Liaisons Dangereuses this fall at the Booth Theatre!
Frank Wood as Gene in Side Man (1998).
This was my first introduction to Frank's work, and I've been a fan ever since. As his family was disintegrating, he held fast to his trumpet and his music. No pyrotechnics.....just a man unable to respond to any emotion but the music's.
John's 2006 Broadway debut performance in Rabbit Hole, a brief but pungent scene toward the end of the play, was merely an appetizer for his subsequent unshackled, bounding performance as Moritz in Spring Awakening. You knew this "kid" was ready to take off.....and he has.
Jeremy Shamos as Karl/Steve in Clybourne Park (2012).
I wasn't familiar with Jeremy's work before I saw him in Clybourne Park. I remember thinking, "This guy is certainly playing a disagreeable character".....and as I sat there, I got more and more caught up with his character and the stealth humor he brought to the role. When I saw Jeremy continue as Steve in Act 2, I thought, "Where has this guy been hiding?!" He ain't hiding anymore......